A pigeon pollution patrol is flying around London wearing tiny backpacks
Ten pigeons with tiny backpacks that detect nitrogen dioxide and ozone gases are flying over London for the next two days monitoring the city’s pollution levels. The Pigeon Patrol are live tweeting the pollution data at @PigeonAir.
Pneumonia is a very common illness that causes infection in the lungs. At best, it causes mild symptoms such as a cough or fever; at worst it can cause death. Unfortunately, pneumonia is one of those illnesses that seems to get swept under the rug - but no more! In recognition of World Pneumonia Day on 12 November, UNICEF wants to get the word out so we can all help save and protect children around the world.
1. Everyone can get pneumonia
One common myth is that pneumonia mostly affects older people. However, everyone is at risk. This includes children, especially those who live in areas with high levels of air pollution. In fact, half of all pneumonia deaths in children are linked to air pollution!
2. Pneumonia is the leading infectious killer of children under five.
Even though pneumonia is preventable and treatable, 922,000 children died from it last year. That’s 2,500 children per day and 1 every 35 seconds! Pneumonia in the most deadly infectious disease in children, causing more deaths than malaria, tuberculosis, measles and AIDS combined!
3. A lot less children are dying from pneumonia!
Between 2000 and 2015 the amount of deaths in children from pneumonia decreased by 47%! That is awesome, but there is still more work to be done. This is the slowest rate of decline among (the main) childhood diseases.
4. The majority of childhood pneumonia cases occur in 10 countries.
60% of deaths occur in Chad, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Indonesia. Pneumonia is more common in rural areas, poor areas and areas with poor air quality and unclean water.
5. There are a lot of ways to fight pneumonia.
These include vaccines, breastfeeding, access to safe drinking water, improving overall sanitation, good nutritional habits for children and improving air quality, especially inside the home. It all starts with raising awareness and sharing solutions.
You can do something today: help us get the word out! One death from pneumonia is one too many. If you want to get involved and help save the lives of thousands of children visit everybreathcounts.info
Can you please tell me more about air pollution and the brain?
One of the first things to understand is that air pollution as a toxicant is very complex. It’s concentration and composition can vary spatially (by location) and temporally (by time–hour, day, week, month, year), and there may be certain components of the overall mixture that are at higher levels in some instances over others. It’s a mixture of particulate matter (the smaller the particles are, the more toxic they are), volatile organics, gases, metals, bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), fungal spores, and silica, to name the major ones.
A lot of people may think “Well air pollution really just affects the lungs, right?”, and that’d be somewhat true, but it also can affect the brain directly and indirectly. Directly, air pollution affects the brain via the olfactory epithelium in the nasal cavity. Particles and metals can be directly transported into the brain across this epithelium and through the olfactory nerve. Several studies have confirmed this using radiolabled particles and intranasal vs. intratracheal instillation.
Indirectly, air pollution can affect the brain by inducing peripheral inflammatory mechanisms. Pollutants can be directly transported to the brain via the bloodstream, and there is also an intriguing hypothesis that vagal nerve irritation at the level of the lungs can induce neuroinflammation. Air pollution also causes systemic inflammation, which can also affect the brain.
Chronic exposure to air pollution and the resulting chronic, global inflammation can increase the risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Exposure during pregnancy increases the risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and ADHD. Besides the inflammatory mechanisms, the heavy metals and organic toxicants that air pollution can carry also induce their own forms of neurotoxicity.
I’ve tried to condense a lot of literature into this answer, but here are some open-access reviews that are pretty good if you want more info!
Snow chemistry monitoring results show reduced air pollutant levels in Glacier
Is it too early to talk about snow?
We’ve got some good news about ours! Recent work in the Rocky Mountain region by NPS and USGS scientists has shown that concentrations of some important pollutants, like nitrate and sulfate, have been stable or decreasing in our snowpacks over the last two decades. Data was taken at snow monitoring stations in Glacier (at Apgar Lookout), Rocky Mountain National Park, and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
Parks care about snow chemistry because small particles of pollutants in the atmosphere are carried from far away by snowflakes that land on otherwise pristine park mountaintops. Snow forms when very cold water freezes onto particles of dust or pollen in the air, creating an ice crystal. The crystal accumulates water vapor as it falls to the ground, building a snowflake. After the snow has accumulated and eventually melts, the pollutants it carries will leach into the ground.
Excessive nitrogen and sulfur in the atmosphere come from power plant emissions, vehicle exhaust, livestock operations, fertilizer application, and other human sources. These pollutants can acidify and over-enrich soil and water, contributing to exotic plant and insect invasions, toxic algal blooms, and loss of species diversity. High-elevation environments, like Glacier’s alpine lakes, are naturally low in nutrients. Even small amounts of pollutants can disrupt their sensitive balance.
The establishment of the Clean Air Act in 1970, and its subsequent amendments, is responsible for significant reductions in air pollution and prevention of pollution-related illnesses and deaths over the past 40 years. Current challenges the EPA faces in air pollution reduction include particle pollution, greenhouse gas effects, toxic industrial pollutants, and ozone-degrading chemicals.
Have you ever noticed air pollution where you live or somewhere that you’ve traveled?
To all the witches and pagans saying “have a bonfire” for Litha/Summer Solstice...
Our planet is getting way too warm, and it’s from us horribly wasting our resources and fucking up our air. The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, which means the most hours of sunlight in a day in a season that is now becoming warmer and warmer and for many, the Summer Solstice is a time of extreme fire danger.
Having a bonfire on the Summer Solstice really isn’t a good idea when you consider the modern state of the world. I was taught to have a fire on Litha too, but as I’ve moved more towards my cronedom, it’s become clear to me that for many Wheel holidays, we’re reenacting ritual actions based on past contexts (mostly imagined by us) and not creating rituals based on modern needs and context.
What if we didn’t celebrate the Solstice with the things that we have more than enough of (light & heat) at this time of year? How about honoring all the plants and animals who burn to death in summer fires? Why don’t we celebrate our incredibly precious and dwindling supply of fresh water when it’s hot outside?
For those of you who live in locations where summer burn bans happen due to fire danger or poor air quality, how do you observe Litha, the Summer Solstice?
In Japan, Mitsubishi admitted this week that it manipulated test data to overstate the fuel efficiency of 625,000 cars and there are fears that more models may be involved. Government officials raided one of its offices on Thursday.
The scandal has wiped about 40% off Mitsubishi’s market value, amounting to losses of $3.2bn over three days. The shares fell nearly 14% on Friday, following declines of 20% on Thursday, when they were suspended, and 15% on Wednesday.
An official at the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Reuters that the regulator had asked Mitsubishi for information on vehicles sold in the US.
Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said: “As anticipated, the wrongdoing looks like it goes well beyond VW. Like PPI mis-selling by banks, this scandal could result in spiralling costs for the industry as more class actions follow. Whether the cheating at any other firms is quite on the scale of VW is another matter, but the damage to the industry’s reputation will not be easily fixed.”
Japanese government officials said Mitsubishi could be responsible for reimbursing consumers and the government if investigations conclude that the vehicles were not as fuel-efficient as claimed.
The transport minister, Keiichi Ishii, told a news conference on Friday: “This is a serious problem that could lead to the loss of trust in our country’s auto industry.” He said he wanted Mitsubishi to examine the possibility of buying back affected cars.
The internal affairs minister, Sanae Takaichi, said the government would also ask the carmaker to pay for any subsidies granted to consumers if its cars are found to fail fuel economy standards, Jiji news agency reported.
Japanese media reported that Mitsubishi had submitted misleading mileage data on its i-MiEV electric car, which is also sold overseas. The previously disclosed models whose fuel economy readings Mitsubishi has admitted to manipulating are only sold in Japan – four of its mini-cars, two of which it manufactured for Nissan.
Guys please pay attention to this. This is a very serious issue. Perhaps the most serious issue in Romania and I feel no one talks about it. Germany is planning on banning diesel fuel in the future and I feel it would be the best solution for Romania’s air pollution problem as well.
Please put pressure on the government to make a diesel fuel ban. I know the are corrupt, but even they could benefit from clean air so it may not be impossible to persuade them.